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Poster: Spuzz Date: Jun 5, 2004 4:43pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Kids on Film

I'm guessing that the photographer of this piece was the certified 'filmmaker' of the town. Does anyone know if he was paid, or did he do these films out of his own pocket? I was really quite amazed at the first shots and the shots of children, who all looked either sick or terrified of the camera. It sort of has an eerie quality..

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Poster: Marysz Date: Jun 6, 2004 5:17am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Looking at the children

I’m surprised by how well-behaved (by today’s standards) all the children are—and how clean. It’s almost impossible to keep little kids from jumping into mud puddles and generally getting dirty in an instant. The children could have been dressed up because it was Sunday and they were already in their "good" clothes. I'm not sure their mothers would have had the time to dress them up just to be filmed. You can certainly feel the mothers’ presence hovering off screen. These are loved children. Some of the younger children in the beginning of the film look a little thin and malnourished. It must have been hard to keep a family fed during the Depression, even in a farm state like South Dakota.

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Poster: Steve Nordby Date: Jun 6, 2004 11:20am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: Looking at the children

Thin and malnourished - two words Great Depression.

My parents lived about 30 miles or so from where these films were made at the time. These people look pretty well off.

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Poster: cashel Date: Jun 6, 2004 11:24am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: Looking at the children

PLEASE can you tell us more. The information that you have gained from your parents would be very interesting

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Poster: Steve Nordby Date: Jun 6, 2004 12:19pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: Looking at the children

Background: I'm the youngest of 5 kids spread over many years. My parents were from Minnesota, married in 1939, and lived in Watertown, SD, probably the closest "city" to Britton.

Most surprising to me is the absence of church activities. The Lutheran Church is the State church in all the Scandinavian countries, and from the prespective I have from my family, a crucial part of everyday life. Yet we see no scenes of people going to or leaving from a church service, nor anything else that would suggest how important that was.

The cars in this film strike me. My dad loved cars. My brothers love cars. I just know about them. Car culture has hit America in this film. Check films rural areas of any other country at this time period and you will not see cars. Yet America was in a depression. How can this be? Cars had assumed an importance beyond what anyone had imagined. A sense of technology coming of age and freedom in mobility that served well for those about to enlist or be drafted for WWII.

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Poster: Marysz Date: Jun 6, 2004 1:44pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: Looking at the children

I also wondered why we didn’t see anyone going to church. Maybe the photographer wasn’t a churchgoer? Or the minister could have disapproved of movies. We see the commercial life of the town, but not the town's religious life.

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Poster: Steve Nordby Date: Jun 6, 2004 1:52pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: Looking at the children

Just a guess, but "Ivan", not a Scandinavian, Germanic or English name, may have felt uncomfortable shooting Lutheran Church goers. Any bio info on Ivan Besse?

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Poster: Steve Nordby Date: Jun 6, 2004 2:09pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: Looking at the children

I mean, after all motion picture camera meant upper middle class at least . . .

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Poster: cashel Date: Jun 6, 2004 5:41pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: Looking at the children

Ivan Besse is 93 and dtill living in Britton. In the Forum section of the Prelinger site , Rick Prelinger has posted much interesting information, including a fascinating account of an evening in Britton when the films were shown at the original cinema.

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Poster: cashel Date: Jun 5, 2004 8:06pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: Kids on Film

Taking photos was a luxury in those days. The parents made it such a " big event" that the kids became nervous and some were indeed frightened